Wanderings and musings

Today was slow and comfortable. After breakfast I went back to bed for a couple of hours,then I grabbed a coffee and a slice of cake from the café at the YHA around lunch time and settled down to read. I’m now about halfway through Caliban’s War, and things are happening. It’s intense. I’ll be heading straight to Crow Books when I get home and picking up Abaddon’s Gate.

Once I gathered a little more energy I decided to walk into the centre of town and look around. I ended up at Blackwell’s Bookshop where a couple of books on AI might have leapt into my bag of their own accord…

Blackwell’s is a treasure. It’s two or three levels, it’s hard to tell, with stacks upon stacks filled with all manner of interesting books. One of the mentors recommended the basement level so I went down to suss it out, and I was not disappointed. I thought Boffins back home was the best bookshop for nerdy stuff and specialty books, but I was wrong. Blackwell’s wins hands down. I wish I could bring it back to Perth with me.

After losing track of time in the bookshop I crossed the street to visit the Museum of the History of Science. Yet another favourite place among all my other favourite places on this trip. If you ever get a chance to go, you really, really should. I took a selfie with Einstein’s chalkboard, but as I am bad at selfies it turned out terribly. So I won’t be posting it. Sorry not sorry.

In the evening I walked to the Eagle and Child Pub in search of dinner, but it was packed and so warm inside that my glasses fogged up and I was effectively blind for a good ten minutes, so I ended up heading back to Jamie’s Italian to eat. The Eagle and Child was where Tolkien and CS Lewis set up their writing group, I am told.It felt a little too cozy and cramped for a writing group I’ve gotta say, but it was nice.

During my dinner at Jamie’s I made some notes about a couple of story ideas that are brewing in my brain. I finished the evening with a delicious chocolate brownie and a cup of English breakfast tea. I was tempted to take more photos of Thaikhun through the window because it’s just so damn pretty, but the restaurant was quite full and I was already getting funny looks for the number of snaps I’d taken of the chandelier.

It was agood day, all in all. If I have the energy tomorrow I’d like to go look at theOxford Castle. There’s a mound! It looks interesting.

Only five more days until my flight home!

A travelling medicine chest and other curiosities at the Museum.

Today was fab.

I had brunch at Fitzbillies down the road with one of the other Scholars, and it was delicious. And the coffee actually tasted like coffee, unlike whatever we had been drinking in the US.

At about noon my big day started in earnest. I set off in search of bridges.

My first stop was Mathematical Bridge, a gorgeous little wooden structure crossing the River Cam between the two halves of Queen’s College. I then walked back through Cambridge and stopped in at a cute little jewellery shop and the Cambridge University Press book shop before purchasing visitor’s entry to St John’s College to view the Bridge of Sighs. It’s a covered stone arch bridge which was built in 1831, and is named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

I also stopped by the Round Church (it’s a church… that’s round), though I didn’t go in this time as I had other things I wanted to tick off my list. I climbed the bell tower of Great St Mary’s Church, from where I had clear views of King’s College to the west, Cambridge markets to the east, Trinity College to the north, and Corpus Cristi college to the south.

Then it was a short walk to our afternoon tea in Christ’s College, where we ate delicious snacks and sandwiches, and our host—Master of the College Jane Stapleton—let us sit in Charles Darwin’s chair and hold Alexander Todd’s Nobel Prize!

Two of the other Scholars and I ate dinner at the Eagle, the pub where Francis Crick and James Watson announced their discovery of DNA’s function in 1953. On the walk back to my accommodation at St Catharine’s College we passed the Corpus Clock, which was inaugurated by Stephen Hawking in 2008 (it features a little beastie atop the gold-plated main face dubbed ‘the chronophage’—literally “eater of time” in Greek, thanks Wikipedia—by the clock’s funder John C. Taylor).

Overall a very science-themed day! And I have been promised a visit to Einstein’s chalkboard when we are in Oxford. Excitement!

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Mathematical Bridge. Unfortunately I couldn’t cross it, but I still enjoyed admiring it from a distance!

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The Bridge of Sighs.

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View of King’s College from the roof of the Great St Mary’s bell tower.

 

Oh. And I learnt that one of the other Scholars on the tour is related to me. Hi Aunty!